Today I am starting a new food series for the blog. I’m not a chef or a food blogger, but I do enjoy finding good recipes and I love admiring well-styled food photography. I’ll be sharing my top favorite recipes and menu ideas for various ingredients, meals and drinks in this new 5 Ways Food Series. I’m starting with one of my favorite afternoon snacks, hummus, which I surprisingly had never tried until this past summer. While I normally pair it with simple pita chips or crudités, hummus is a great, healthy alternative spread or baking sauce.
While there are some great recipes out there for homemade hummus, I usually just pick mine up from the store. I recently received some Skinnygirl Roasted Red Hummus, which is made with non-fat Greek yogurt and is reduced calorie, all-natural, gluten-free and kosher. Oh, and delicious. If hummus is one of your favorite snacks, like mine, you should definitely check out Skinnygirl’s new line of snack foods. They also have dips and salsas! Note: I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Skinnygirl. I received a product sample and a promotional item to facilitate my review.
1. Hummus and crudités in a mason jar, photography by Michael Alberstat
2. Hummus apple tartine from Healthy Happy. Life.
3. Hummus-crusted chicken from from Gimme Some Oven
4. Hummus and Mexican chopped salad tacos from Mountain Mama Cooks
5. The veggie delight sandwich from Camille Styles
All of these recipes can be made using Skinnygirl’s new line of hummus. They come in classic flavor, cilantro jalapeño, roasted garlic and roasted red pepper. I can’t wait to try them all. If you’re interested in checking them out for yourself, print off the coupon below for $0.75 off at your local Walmart.
Summer has come and gone and everything is all pumpkins, football and layered knits. I absolutely love the autumn season! In Dallas, it’s really the best time of year to be outdoors. Sunny days that have a slight crisp in the air are perfect for afternoons at the park, patio brunches and walks around the lake. And while I wouldn’t consider myself extremely outdoorsy (camping is definitely not my idea of vacation), I am really enjoying spending more time in nature as I get older. That’s also a value I really want to foster with Beckett as she grows up.
However, now that I have this little person to consider when making plans, I’ve found that life is just a little less spontaneous. Thank goodness I’m a planner, especially when it comes to my social life. As in, I make restaurant reservations months in advance. This fall, I’m really looking forward to enjoying the outdoors and getting creative. There’s so much inspiration, it’s hard not to. Below is my bucket list for this fall, which goes until December 21st, by the way. Make sure to follow me on instagram (@moderneve) and see what items I am able to cross of my list!
Modern Eve‘s Fall Bucket List
Spruce up our front porch with some potted plants and pumpkins
DIY Beckett’s Halloween costume
Eat fried Oreos at the Texas State Fair
Grill out at White Rock Lake
Sell Beckett’s old clothes on Ebay
Check out some well-designed homes here, here and here
Make homemade apple cider
Start some early Christmas shopping with Partner’s Card
Go see Gone Girl, Mockingjay Part 1 and Wild at the theater
Organize and back-up our digital photos
Dine out at Lyfe Kitchen
Tailgate for SMU’s Homecoming
Finish my woven tapestry
Experiment with some crock-pot soup recipes
Travel to Virginia for Thanksgiving
Shop the J.Crew Warehouse Sale on Black Friday
Sew Beckett a dress
Design our annual Christmas card
Take Beckett to get a photo with Santa
Convert home office to a “family creative space”
Photography Credits: Polienne and Yummy Mummy Kitchen: Graphics by Modern Eve
When you’re first starting to decorate a home, there are inevitably spaces that fall to the bottom of the priority list. Guest rooms, perhaps? The laundry room? For me, it’s been our entryway. Our entryway, in fact, is empty and has been for seven years. As the holiday season approaches and I am thinking about my entertaining plans, I’ve realized just how important the entryway can be. It sets the tone of your home for your guests. If it’s cluttered with piles of unread mail, dirty shoes and haphazardly thrown jackets you’ll make quite a different impression than if it’s a well-defined, calm and purposeful space, like these gorgeous photos. I don’t know what the rest of these homes look like, but I bet they’re extremely cozy and peaceful.
C Magazine, Photography by Victoria Pearson
A must-have for any entryway is a good mirror. It’s the perfect place to apply your lipstick and one final hair check before heading out the door.
Pierre + Charlotte on Remodelista
Shannon Fricke on The Joye
A chic place to sit, to take on and off your boots or wait for the carpool, is a smart design addition.
Riesco & Lapres, Photography by Janis Nicolay of Pinecone Camp
House to Home, Photography by Damian Russell
Sarah Sherman Samuel of Smitten Studio
I love the inclusion of a little greenery. A houseplant makes any space more welcoming and inviting.
Mad & Bolig
Art is another item to bring into the entryway. Whether it’s a large statement piece or a curated collection of frames, it’s a great way to introduce your personality at the very starting point of your home.
Have your prioritized your entryway. I’m looking for a great mirror, a bench, a plant and some art for my entryway. What other items should I be looking to add?
After last week’s post on my approach to play, I am starting the hunt for my favorite toys, beginning with early learning toys. It’s easy to walk through the aisles at our local toy store and be underwhelmed by all the cheap, battery-operated and character-licensed toys that are flooding the market. As I work on curating list of my favorite toys, I will mostly be considering what is termed “slow toys“. In short, here were my criteria in making this list:
1) The toy must aid the development of early learning and sensory skills. This is a huge difference between purposeful play and mere entertainment.
2) The toy must encourage open-ended play. Helping to foster my daughter’s imagination is extremely important to me. Toys designed for open-ended play, also allow children to discover at their own pace.
3) The toy must be made of quality, natural materials. All of these items are made from wood. I love this blog post by one of my new favorite online toys shops, Oompa Toys, on the value of wood toys. Not only does this ensure the toys are safe, but that they’re more likely to last for multiple children; and they’re also beautiful to to both sight and touch.
4) The toy must remain relevant for a minimum of 3 months. Ideally, many of these toys will be used for a least a year or more, in some capacity.
With that in mind, here are my top ten wooden toys for early learning (infants and toddlers). As discussed in my play philosophy post, quality toys can be expensive, so I’ve also included links to very affordable budget versions for each type of toy listed.
No. 1 Shape sorting house from Janod, $28.50, Budget version from Toys R Us, $9.99
No. 2 Solid drum from PlanToys, $17.85, Budget version from Darice, $7.62
No. 3 Lock activity box from Mamagenius, $49.95, Budget version from Melissa & Doug, $21.99
No. 4 Marcel the cat from Vilac, $34.90, Budget version from Walmart, $4.97
No. 5 Rolling wheel from Grimm’s, $39.95, Budget version by Maxim EverEarth, $9.99
No. 6 Frappá ball from Janod, $28.13, Budget version from KidKraft, $16.99
No. 7 Windmill stackeroo from Discoveroo, $14 on sale Budget version from Ikea, $5.99
No. 8 Zig zag ball run from KidKraft, $33.99, Budget version from Maxim, $15.99
No. 9 Flap from Glodos, $149.99, Budget version from Classic Toy, $33.50
No. 10 Tunnel mountain from Hape, $88.61, Budget version from Ikea, $7.99
Photo source: Janette Crawford of Fashion Loves People
Now that we’re out of the early infant stages and survival mode, I’m starting to think a lot about Beckett’s development and education. Seeing my daughter discover and gain new skills is the best part about being a mom for me. I am truly giddy about helping her move toward independence, express herself creativity and grow in knowledge of the Lord and His creation.
I’ve been reading a lot about various educational approaches and find myself really attracted to many of the principles in Montessori and Waldorf methods. I don’t see myself being a purist in any one approach, but I do appreciate many of the philosophies behind these schools of thought. I love the idea of using “play” to teach practical independence skills (a key characterization for Montessori), and also as an opportunity to encourage creative expression through art, music and role play (an important value for Walforf proponents).
Photo source: Rebecca Gallop of A Daily Something on The Goods blog by Uncommon Goods
Photo source: Jade Berreau on The Glow
The preschool years, from birth to age six, is what Montessori calls the formative period of the Absorbent Mind. It’s this period in a child’s development that forms the foundation for later intellectual and psychological development. This website defines the Absorbent Mind as “an unconscious, creative and non-selective process by which the brain takes in everything from the environment, like a sponge, forming neural pathways and connections”. I’m not a scientist or child psychologist, but merely observing my daughter, this idea makes a lot of sense to me.
Photo source: Ana Kliz of Bluebird Kisses
Photo source: Gabrielle Blair of Design Mom
For that reason, all aspects of our environment have become extremely important to me. And while it’s also important (especially from a spiritual level) to recognize our inability to control everything (perfection is not the goal), I want to be intentional – intentional with our purchases, with our activities, with our design, and most importantly with how we spend our time within our environments.
Many of my friends and family have joked about my pickiness when it comes to toys for Beckett. And while it may come off as pretentious or materialistic, my motivations are spurred by a deep value for simplicity (in both quantity and function, encouraging imagination and open-ended play) and long-lasting quality (and aesthetic beauty). Quality over quantity. Both function and form.
As I start curating lists of my favorite toys and learning materials (starting with Early Learning Toys next week), these are the underlying values that inform my selections.
Photo source: Merrilee Liddiard of Mer Mag
One of the major negatives to this approach is the financial cost. The truth is cheap, plastic toys cost less money. And they’re more readily available, meaning they’re more accessible to friends and family for gifts, they do not require as much planning or research to purchase, and they’re more heavily advertised. Basically, they’re the fast food of the toy industry.
Photo source: Michelle Sterling of Avery and Augustine
Let’s be clear – plastic is certainly not evil. And toys with flashing lights and battery-powered nursery rhymes won’t necessarily cause harm. But they also don’t promote the same intentionality and commitment to natural discovery and imagination that I hold as important values. More often than not, they encourage entertainment-oriented play. I want Beckett to actively and deeply engage with her “toys”, instead of passively absorbing stimuli. I also want to limit her exposure to unnatural, potentially harmful materials.
Photo source: Joy Cho of Oh Joy!
But it’s also an important value for me to be a wise steward of our financial resources and to live within our means and budget. So, how do I resolve this? Instead of having three or four inexpensive toys, I’d rather have one quality toy for the same price. In fact, I see owning fewer toys as a welcome secondary result, not a consequence. Curious why? Read this article on Becoming Minimalist on why fewer toys will benefit your kids.
Photo source: Amy Parker of Parker Etc. on Little Hip Squeaks blog
If you’re a mom, I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments. Does anyone else have similar feelings regarding your children’s toys?
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